Becan: A Dramatic Validation of a Book of Mormon Warfare Pattern
By Raymond C. Treat
About 73 B.C., Alma 11 turns over the leadership of the church and the sacred records to his son, Helaman. The Nephites become proud and rich and will not listen to Helaman The leader of the rebellion is Amalickiah. He wants to overthrow the government and become king. Moroni, the chief commander of the Nephite armies, seeing this great threat to freedom, tears a piece from his coat and writes on it, "in memory of our God, our religion and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." He fastens it to a pole and goes throughout the land enlisting all those that will fight to defend their freedom. Amalickiah and his followers, seeing they are defeated, defect to the Lamanites. Through treachery and deceit, Amalickiah becomes the king of the Lamanites and leads their armies against the Nephites.
Moroni, knowing that the intent of Amalickiah is to become king of both the Nephites and the Lamanites, begins strengthening the cities on the borders between the lands. A description of these fortifications proves to be very interesting:
... the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and arrows at them ... neither could they come upon them, save it was by their place of entrance. Alma 21:152
. . the Lamanites could not got Into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance, because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up, and the depth of the ditch which had been dug round about ... Alma 21:170
... upon the top, of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers; yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man ... upon those works of timbers, there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers ... and they were strong and high; and he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets ... Alma 22:2,3
So we see that the Nephite fortifications consisted of a deep ditch and a high bank with timbers and towers. We know that these fortifications which Moroni made In every city in their borders were unique. It was a tactic never used before by the Nephites (Alma 21:157) and took the Lamanites completely by surprise. Certainly Moroni was inspired to prepare his people in this manner.
Five years later the Lamanites were able to take possession of a line of fortified Nephite cities from the city of Moroni, to the city of Nephihah to the city of Lehi and on to several other cities.
And thus had the Lamanites obtained, by the cunning of Amalickiah, so many cities, by their numberless hosts, all of which were strongly fortified, after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni. Alma 23:33